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British Industrial History

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Mersey Railway

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1886.Tank Locomotive for the Mersey Tunnel Railway by Beyer, Peacock and Co.
Mar 1957.
1922. Train Indicator, James-Street Station.
1922. Cabinet for Relays and Fuses, James-Street Station.
1922. Signal Box, and Track.
James St. station, 2016

of Worcester House, Walbrook, London.

The Mersey Railway connected Liverpool and Birkenhead, via the Mersey Railway Tunnel under the River Mersey. [1]; otherwise referred to as Mersey Tunnel Railway

1886 It was the first tunnel built under the river. It was constructed by John Waddell, who had been sub-contracted the work by Major Samuel Isaac.

1886 The company was incorporated to construct a railway connecting Liverpool and Birkenhead, by means of a tunnel under the River Mersey.

1886 The Mersey Railway opened between Green Lane station in Birkenhead and James Street station in Liverpool in 1886, via Birkenhead Central and Hamilton Square stations, both in Birkenhead.

1888 a branch to Birkenhead Park station opened, with a connection to the Wirral Railway. This was followed in 1891 by an extension from Green Lane to Rock Ferry with a connection to the Chester and Birkenhead Railway.

1892 the tunnel was extended from James Street to a new Low Level station at Liverpool Central.

The total length of the tunnel was 5,029 m and by 1890 it was carrying 10 million passengers a year.

For the opening of the line, eight powerful 0-6-4 tank locomotives were obtained from Beyer, Peacock and Co. These were fitted with condensing apparatus for working in the tunnel. One of them (number 5 Cecil Raikes) is preserved at the Museum of Liverpool. It is likely that it is named after Henry Cecil Raikes who was Member of Parliament for Preston in 1882. Beyer Peacock built a ninth 0-6-4T locomotive in 1886, along with six 2-6-2 tank locomotives in 1887–1888. A seventh 2-6-2T was built by Kitson & Co in 1892.

An Act of 1900 gave power to work the railway by electricity. The electrification of the line was carried out by the British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co. [2]

1903 The line was electrified, becoming the first railway in the world to change over completely from steam to electric power - it sold ten of its steam engines to the Pontypridd, Caerphilly and Newport Railway. It was originally electrified with a fourth rail system, which was later replaced by a third rail system. It was originally electrified with a fourth rail system, which was later replaced by a third rail system. The nearby Liverpool Overhead Railway, the world's first electric overhead railway, had already operated successfully with electric traction since its opening in 1893.

After electrification four of the Railway's 0-6-4T locomotives were sold to J. & A. Brown of New South Wales, Australia, where one, number 5, former Mersey Railway number 1 The Major, is preserved at the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum, Thirlmere, New South Wales. Three other 0-6-4T (nos. 2, 3 & 6) and all seven 2-6-2T locomotives (nos. 10-16) were sold to the Alexandra (Newport and South Wales) Docks and Railway between November 1903 and January 1905, becoming their nos. 6-11 and 22-25. All ten passed to the Great Western Railway in January 1922, and were withdrawn between January 1923 and May 1932.

1922 Mr Joshua Shaw was the general manager.[3]

The Mersey Railway electric trains ran from Liverpool Central to Birkenhead Park and to Rock Ferry, where passengers to points beyond would change. In 1938 the LMS electrified the line from Birkenhead Park to New Brighton and to West Kirby, and built new trains which ran through to Liverpool. Normally new LMS trains handled the West Kirby route and Mersey Railway trains handled the New Brighton service, as well as the existing Rock Ferry operation.

In 1948, on nationalisation of the railways, the Mersey Railway became known as the London Midland Region Mersey section and the old cars were renumbered in the British Railways sequence.

In 1956 these trains were life-expired and replaced by further trains built to the LMS 1938 design, the last of the American-designed cars being phased out a year later.

The tunnel and railway are still in use today as part of the Wirral Line of the Merseyrail commuter rail network.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Engineer 1922/07/07.